Sunday, 31 May 2009

Playing with polymer clay - day 2- part 2

The afternoon of my second day at EuroClay carnival was spent with Sylvie Peraud doing her project based in in-filling colour into baked polymer clay.

Once again the clay was provided and by the time I chose it was pretty much yellow left- fate huh?

But as I knew we were potentially combining it with black I once again couldn't bring myself to use the "warning colour sheme" so made a Skinner blend with some white and brown added- which of course completely altered the yellow.

After I had baked my pieces I began to carve into them to add patterns.

I decided to in-fill my two pieces using colour theory- so one one piece I added brown to create more of an analogous colour scheme.

On the second piece I added a violet for a complementary scheme- I used a "soft" violet so it wasn't so bold.

Playing with polymer clay - day 2- part 1

My second day at The EuroClay Carnival and two new classes today.

The first one I was looking forward but had no hope I would actually be able to do it as I don't think I can work intricately. Ok, I know I do intricate work with beads but I think that's different- the holes tell me where to go and there's no hope of me squashing it all as there is with clay!

Our teacher for the morning was Iris Mishly (and here) and our project was flower canes.

As you can see I got on ok with these in the end!

We began by choosing 6 colours- hmm- looks like only 5 in the photo!

For some reason the violet just wanted to appear exactly the same as the blue. So I messed around with a few setting on my camera and managed to get a photo which looked a bit nearer the reality.

A bit more fiddling on my computer and the colours I really chose were these. I have no idea why this happened and have put this top of my list to look into on my colour investigations!

Anyway, I didn't like the garishness of the orange so decided to alter it by adding blue and brown- the colour I started with is on the right and the resulting mix is on the left. I ended up adding roughly double the quantities of the blobs of blue and brown you see in the photo.

The two main things I have discovered about the advantages of working with clay over beads are:
1- Colour mixing- what a joy to be able to come up with your own colours and as long as you have the basic colours of clay, the colour world is your oyster!
2- Speed- I can't believe how quick it is to make thing using clay- such a change over my beadwork.

I next needed to come up with a Skinner Blend using a colour and white and decided to choose my violet clay. Note the speckles in my white clay- it was impossible to keep clean!

Skinner blends are wonderful things and enable you to come up with so many shades within minutes- imagine trying to track down all those shades of bead to get a blend like that- impossible!

If you want to work out a colour scheme that blends from one colour to another than this useful online tool will help

Lastly I made a striped stack to use for the centre of my flower canes.

This was rolled with white to make a cane and here's a close up of my sheet so you can see the tiny stripes.

The next part of the class was assembling all we had made into flower canes and this was great fun and I was better at it than I thought I'd be- but my no means any good at it compared to anyone else- one of my flowers just looks like slices of an orange!

The last part of the class was spent layering our canes onto a sheet of backing clay. I struggled with just my flowers at first as the pink/ violet ones didn't go well with the orange ones but by putting slices of the flower centre canes they all came together- just a shame i didn't like it- it was all too bright for me- and I can't get over thinking it now looks like slices of oranges and strawberries- still better luck next time.

I used my sheet to make pillow beads- another first - and bracelet sections- and am hoping that if I string them with dark purple beads inbetween they'll stop looking so "citrussy"

God- how much did I make?!?!? doing all of that in seed beads would have taken me weeks or months- this polymer clay stuff is growing on me by the second!

Resources updated

Saturday, 30 May 2009

Playing with polymer clay - day 1

I've headed off to Nottingham for 3 days of Polymer Clay fun.

The 3 days will consist of 6 classes with 6 different tutors and I'm looking forward to all of them. Although I went to a Polymer Clay even in 2005 and helped set up the London Polymer Clay Group I've never really done much of it- only made 2 canes I think- and basic ones at that- so I was apprehensive about being able to do the classes.

But by the time the first class had started and I'd met the ladies I'd be spending the 3 days with my fears soon disappeared.

My first class was with Alison Gallant and was based on using mica shift and Skinner Blends to make some basic beads. This was good fun and warmed me up and got me ready for the rest of the classes.

All the clay for our classes was Kato Clay (kindly provided by Donna Kato) which I have never used before and I think I will definitely invest in more as I really enjoyed using it- once we'd got in conditioned it was nice and strong and the colours mixed nicely.

We had no choice in our colours and were given green and blue- after saying recently I never use plain blue I really enjoyed using it. I found the colours we used weren't that distinctive in the small beads but on the larger surfaces of the pendants were could also make you could see them better.

Mica shift is a wonderful thing- just look at the stripes in this clay!

The afternoon was spent with Natalia Garcia de Leaniz (from Spain) who was a great teacher with a wonderful project- making very organic beads and adding in colours, paints and beads.

The main colours were were given for these was black and brown. The black looked great but the brown was very "dull" so the next day I painted most of my brown beads using a mix of greens, black and coppers.

I also put blues and greens under my black clay so that when sanded this will appear on the "spines" of the "seed pods". Hopefully you can see all of this in this very blurry close-up!

I found that uniting the different colours i.e. the black and brown through the use of beads, other clay and paint really made what were quite different beads become more of a set.

I really enjoyed this class and hope to be able to find time to experiment with everything I did today!

After receiving so many requests to teach classes on colours I am now planning to do so next year. The class will be a year-long class/ support group for anyone wanting to experiment with their work and their use of colour. We will meet once a month to learn about all about a colour, its historical and social significance as well as how to use it in your work.
We'll then experiment in class with beads that colour before you go home and see how you get on with it before coming back to the group a month later for feedback and help. We will work on the 3 primary colours, and the 3 secondary ones, giving everyone 2 months to play with a colour, and different schemes using it, before we move onto the next one and see how that works.
In addition to the monthly meetings, there will also be an online-group exclusively for those taking part where we can discuss what you've been up to and get help and feedback on your work as well as advice on tracking down and using colours.
The class will be open to anyone whatever type of beading you like doing and whatever level you are at- as long as you're open to learning and experimenting you're welcome!
I am still working on dates for the class but it should take place in the hall I use for my other classes in Kentish Town, North London, on either a Monday afternoon (possibly 2-5pm) or evening (possibly 6-9pm). If you're interested in the class, and would like to put your name down to be first to hear more about it, please contact me, letting me know if afternoons or evenings would be best for you.

PS- if anyone knows where in the UK I can get hold of 140 large yellow dagger beads please let me know- not topaz or amber- but bright yellow!

Monday, 25 May 2009

Crystal Geodes

More beading today and despite the fact I should be getting on with my latest geometric piece I decided to bead something completely different.

I had the idea for these beaded beads over two years ago when I made my crystal charms and pendants- even though I played around with the idea at the time it's taken me this long to actually perfect the idea - I like to let ideas brew for a while sometimes!

They're easy to make and turn out nice and sparkly- I just need to turn them into finished pieces now and soon they'll appear as a project in a future issue of Bead.

You can see from the orange and yellow I used I'm still sticking to my colour challenge- I just didn't have enough yellow crystals in the size I needed to make them fully out fo those so instead added yellow in the form of some mustard yellow delicas.

Friday, 22 May 2009

Sand as inspiration

Recently I visited South Wold for a few hours and took some great photos of the sand there.
I have to bead a project for the next issue of Bead magazine and thought that using some beads inspired by the sand would look nice.

Here is the main photo of the sand

Here's a closer photo of the sand

Here is a palette I created for using the photo

Color by COLOURlovers

Here are some of the beads I'l be using in my work, obviously I'll be using a lot more of one tube than the others!

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Blog colour scheme

Seriously I am unable to make my mind up what colours to use so expect it to wary wildly over the next year or stay the same through indecision!

Sunday, 17 May 2009

My yellow colour schemes in actual beads

After my post yesterday I thought you might like to see the colour schemes I talk about in actual beads so they make more sense!

Yellow and black
This I rejected right away as it was too bold and too much like a warning sign.

Yellow, black and gold
Still too alarming for my liking.

Yellow, black, gold and lavender
This is more to my liking but want to soften it further as just using the contrasts of yellows and violets is still a bit too strong for me. I want something that will calm down the black.

Yellow, black, gold, lavender, khaki and grey
Just right!
And here is the actual beadwork started

Saturday, 16 May 2009

Finding a yellow colour scheme I like

So I know what I want to bead next- a new triangular bracelet (to continue my geometric series of work) using yellow beads and some great new crystal shapes. But the crystals only come in the solid colours (i.e. without a coloured backing which would show as I plan to use them side-ways) of black and clear (ok, I know clear isn't a colour but you know what I mean).

So I went with black.
Now alarm bells are ringing.
Yellow and black.
Do I really want to spend weeks beading something that will look like a hazard warning sign?
Or as though I've skinned a thousand bees?

No- so my first challenge with this piece is to come up with a colour combination I like- so out come the beads.
- Yellow and black- already I have given this a big no
- Yellow, orange and black- not really much difference
- Yellow, orange reds and black- this is a colour scheme I have planned for another project later on so don't want to use it here and be sick of it before then
- Yellow, violet and black- too bold. I'm wary of the black being such a strong colour that I need to bring it down in some way and create something that is appealing with yellow rather than shocking.

So after a long time playing with my colour wheel and looking at lots of different schemes I decide to resort to google for ideas.

Googling "yellow colour schemes" I get the following:
The first colour scheme is the yellows and reds I have already rejected but I like the next two and the use of the greys and blues- but I don't really want to use oranges as I don't want this to be an analogous scheme.

Next I get:
There are lots of ideas here but no way I can see of narrowing it down to ones with yellow and black without scrolling through lots of pages and I need to leave with my beads in a few minutes.

So onto: where I can choose different colour combinations with yellow. But none with black so I move on but will definitely return here for future ideas. gives me a yellow and black theme but just using shades of yellow- nice but not what I want. The black crystals I'm using will be very large in the piece and I think I prefer this idea with less black.

More on yellow and black here which gives me the idea of adding shades of grey- I like the thought of this.

This website confirms my worries about using black and yellow- I do not want this piece to pop!

So I begin searching for colour meanings etc with yellow- lots of great info here but no time to read it.

In desperation- I really do have to grab some beads and go- I turn to Colour Lovers.
Their blog post for yesterday was on "thin line colour schemes" and as I'll be using my new crystals as lines in my work I am delighted- this is just what I want.

On this one page there are so many ideas I have to try and narrow it down!
I love:
Color by COLOURlovers
Black with colors- but maybe too bold still and I want the yellow to be the main focus

Color by COLOURlovers
Having fun- too subtle maybe and my yellow are stronger

Color by COLOURlovers
Aqua Yellow Orange- again maybe too strong and too much aqua

Color by COLOURlovers
Art Deco- wow- but too like the analogous scheme I plan to use later

Color by COLOURlovers
Boat Floaters- perfect- just what I want

This combines yellow and black with lavender, khaki and grey- just what I was looking for- the khaki colours were something I hadn't thought of and really make this palette.

So beads selected I'm off and raring to go

Friday, 15 May 2009

Yellow sculptural inspiration

On the way back from Arundel today after a few days working in the office on Bead magazine and on the way back we visited the Cass Sculpture Foundation in Goodwood.

It was a lovely place, well worth a visit and despite the rain I really enjoyed walking around the grounds and seeing all of the lovely sculptures in the natural spaces.

I especially loved Declination by Tony Cragg (perfect for my current yellow theme) and Eschaton by Paul Neagu- beads anyone?

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

More yellow- plato and archimedes beads

More beading with yellow today and as this isn't a colour I usually use, and think I hate, it was a bit of a struggle at first to get up any enthusiasm for it. But once I had I am really enjoying using it.

The main beading I have done with yellow beads so far is to make some of Laura Shea's Plato and Archimedes beads.

So far I've made 4 of them in preparation for my Valerie Hector class tomorrow.

But again, as I said about using yellow for my geometric beaded bead, I'm struggling with just using yellow and end up adding in some gold and violet beads.

I've also ordered some great crystal beads to mix with yellow Delicas for a new geometric experiment I'm itching to try out. I hope to get them Saturday so I can dive in and get beading.

To add to my chores I also now do a blog for my work on Bead magazine and if you're so inclined you can follow me on my 'day job' twitter.

My first steps with yellow- geometric beaded bead

Yellow is not a colour I have used before and one I think I dislike so I am interested to see if there are any versions of it I do actually like.

I'm beginning using it on one of my geometric beaded beads and immediately I'm running into problems.
I'm finding it really hard to just use yellow. I want to add in purples, oranges blues etc to add some interest. Yellow by itself just doesn't seem right.

But I'm trying to stick just with yellows but it seems to me that there just aren't enough yellows to create contrast and variations so when I use them together they very quickly blend into each other. Any yellow I pick up that gives me variation is actually a shade of gold, orange or even green. Even when something seems to be yellow when I put it next to another yellow it turns out to be green- and whilst I like these colours I'm trying to stick to a true yellow scheme so reject them.

But in the end my all yellow colour palette has had to be stretched to include a gold or I don't think you would actually see that I'm using three different colours.

My research has now shown me that my thoughts about yellow are true- there aren't many true yellows- who knew?!?!
what would in other colours just change the 'shade' i.e. adding black, white or grey completely changes the 'colour' in yellow so it appears green when you add black rather than a darker version of yellow.
I wonder if this is the reason why I feel there isn't enough variation for me to use?
Does anyone have any other experiences using yellow?

Monday, 11 May 2009

All about yellow

As well as exploring using yellow with my beadwork I also want to explore its social and historical background so here are some interesting article, links and facts associated with yellow:

History and all about yellow
Yellow on Wikipedia
All about the colour yellow

Reactions/ Meanings/ current thoughts
The meaning of yellow and pink t-shirts in Thailand

Colour Therapy
using yellow in colour therapy
Balancing the solar plexus

Research with yellow
Pale yellow and almond are the best colours for not irritating people and are perfect for a learning environment- from Dunn and Dunn research

Using yellow in design
Using yellow in knitting- how to use it. Very interesting article which looks at yellow on the colour wheel and in reality
Using yellow in interior design
How to use yellow in a children's play room
Using yellow in the garden

How to wear yellow- mainly in children's wear
How to wear yellow and orange- for women

Using yellow in beadwork/ jewellery
Someone else who doesn't usually use yellow!

Beginning with yellow

I have decided to start my colour challenge with yellow.

This I chose for a number of reasons:
- When I spoke to people about colour almost everyone said they hated it or never used it.
One person said they loved it but when I expressed surprise it turned out that actually she only like s very specific yellow and hated all others

- It's the fashion colour of the summer- and I have heard many people complain about that.
Some links about this:
Pantone fashion 2009 colour report
Vogue predict pink, yellow and blue
Yellow is the colour for 2009

- It's a colour I never use- I don't think I have ever used yellow in my work.
Mustards, oranges and even golds- yes. yellow- no

- It's a colour I almost never see used in beadwork and most people I mentioned this to said they never use it

- I hate yellow, or at least I think I do. if you asked me I would say I hate yellow but do I really or is it only a specific yellow I hate?

So hopefully you can see that if I'm going to challenge myself yellow is the place to start!

Sunday, 10 May 2009

Colour Fun

All the Crayola crayon names
Hue 100 test
Why pencils are yellow
Colour fun- searching for colours in photos in Flickr
Colour Fun Games

Colour Inspiration

Rachel Goodchild's beautiful paper
Rainbow chain maille
Maggie Maggio's colourful polymer clay work
Louise Fischer Cozzi's polymer clay work

The colour wheel

The colour wheel is a useful tool for playing with colour and learning about schemes.
I really recommend you get one and play around with it, learn where colours lie on the wheel and how different schemes work.

These links and resources will give you more information in this area.
Myths surrounding the colour wheel
History of the colour wheel from Charley Parker
Handprint's colour wheel information
The history of the colour wheel on Colour Lovers

Different images of colour wheels
Colour Lovers unusual colour wheels
147 smarties colour wheel
Patchwork colour wheel
Threads colour wheel
Colour wheels painted by children in Canada
Colour wheel in eggs
Paul Jackson's insect colour wheel
Easter eggs colour wheel
Paint pots colour wheel
Dolls colour wheel
Origami colour wheel
Jelly colour wheel
Lego colour wheel
Liquid colour wheel
Crayon colour wheel
Tights colour wheel
Toy car colour wheel
Cut out colour wheel
Mosaic colour wheel
Apple logo colour wheel
iPod colour wheel

Useful resources

I plan to add to this list as the year goes on so keep coming back to see anything new

General colour sites
Some great colour websites are:
Colour Lovers
Margie Deeb
Suite 101 - just search for colour/ color to find a fantastic range of articles on colour
Fashion trendsetter/ Colour trends
Nita Leland's colour website
Nita leland's colour blog
Art stories with Julie Duell
Charley Parker's art blog
Maggie Maggio's colour tutorials
Maggio Maggio's colour blog

Some of the books I will be using along the way and recommend if you're interested in colour are:
Color Works
The Beader's Colour Palette
The Beader's Guide to Colour
Colors- what they mean and how to use them
Colourful World
Nita Leland's links page with lots of colour books listed
A dictionary of colour

Colours and their meanings
Rose colours and their meanings
Colour symbolism
Colour idioms
Colour meanings, symbolism and psychology

Patterns and mixing colours
Spring 2009 fashions and prints

Colour schemes
Colour Combos
Limited colour palettes
Colour schemes which pop
This online tool will create a blends of colours for you when you choose a starting and finishing colour
Online colour scheme generator
Evolution of a colour scheme
Polymer clay colour mixing and matching
Kris' colour stripes
Cool ready made polymer clay samples- I want these!
Colour Basics- dos and don'ts
Colour mixing with Sculpey

The meaning of colours in fashion
Colour matching for fashion

Red makes us more attentive vs blue which makes us more creative here and here
The creation of colour in the 18th century
All you could ever want to learn about colour!

My Colour Challenge

I decided nearly two years ago to set my self a colour challenge but life and work took over and so the idea got shelved.
This weekend I have been thinking a lot about my work and my beadwork and decided that now is the time to get out of my rut and put some enjoyment back into my work. The way I plan to do this is to set myself this colour challenge:
Spent the next year working around the colour wheel and experiment with each of the three primary colours (red, yellow and blue) and the three secondary colours (orange, green and violet). I will give each one two months of my time and explore not just using the colour (by itself and in different colour schemes) but also the historical and social aspects of each one and see if that influences my work with it.

I will post here regularly giving updates on what I'm up to and also photos of my work so you can see where I am with it. Feel free to comment and also send me ideas and photos.